In the centenary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, on September 14th, 2015, a team of scientists announced the discovery of the century: the detection of waves in the shape of spacetime – gravitational waves. Over 1.3 billion years ago, two black holes collided, ringing spacetime like a drum, an event more powerful than any since the origin of the universe. One hour before the gravitational wave hit the Earth, two observatories on different coasts – which together comprise the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), were finally locked in observing mode.
On September 26, 2017, astrophysicist Janna Levin will recount the obsessions, aspirations, and trials of the scientists who embarked on the arduous, fifty-year endeavor – a campaign many believed was impossible – to record the first sounds from space. Janna Levin the Tow Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University, and has contributed to an understanding of black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves in the shape of spacetime. She is also director of sciences at Pioneer Works. Her previous books include How the Universe Got Its Spots and a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham Prize. She was recently named a Guggenheim Fellow. Her latest book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, is the inside story on the discovery of the century: the sound of spacetime ringing from the collision of two black hole over a billion years ago.